Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Myrðaling


The Myrðaling
A Ghost Story

Cold across the portal
through the shadow of the veil
the child shivers at me
wild-walking the mirk.
She's thin as she'd never been
when she lay as she was left,
tiny feet kicking in a stiff skin wrap,
taller too than when her kicking stopped
alone in the bramble where the light broke
as the snow wound blue
around her like smoke.

Now she can walk miles
through the night from the black
back corners of the winter before
and after all things
for she's passed the rock door.
On the slaughtering shadow
that splits the soft loam
she blows like a seed that won't be sown
but must be milled on
the stone of years
with a river of bones.

She opens her mouth
and sings like the plague
for a name of her own
to give her a grave.
Take mine I say--it's all I have
for a night sister here in the dying year,
where we've gone too far
to turn around, where too soon
we eat the bread of the dead,
where spirit can weigh
as heavy as flesh when the veil falls away.

Then the moon-girl came out of her lost disguise;
I saw my twin smile, and close her eyes.

~October 2014

reposted October 2021 for Spooktacular Weekend
at earthweal Open Link

Process notes: In Scandanavian folklore, a myrðaling, (from Old Norse, 'myrða,' murder) or more properly, myling, was the ghost of a child killed by its mother in infancy, usually  the child of an unmarried woman, or of a poor family unable to provide for it, abandoned in some unfrequented place and forced to walk the earth seeking burial. The myling might appear and reveal the acts of its killer in a song, or call out for a name, when the hearer could save the spirit by saying "take mine' so that it might then rest in consecrated ground, (as in this poem) or it might vengefully possess the living, jumping on their backs and forcing the victim to carry them to a graveyard, growing heavier with each step. You can read more in this wikipedia article.

Image: The Strawberry Girl, 1777, by Joshua Reynolds
Public domain via
I have manipulated this image.

Will O The Wisp


Will O The Wisp

 I walk tonight
and wish to be
the burn in a lantern;
I walk tonight
in the darkness.

In the darkness
with a black moon
on a path you can't see,
in the darkness
following me.
Following me: all
 the days and the years
in bright dresses
swallowing Orion,
coming to me.

Coming to me
with the twist of a moon
gone black in the sky,
coming to me with
wishes and bones.
Wishes and bones
are all I am,
and lantern's burn.
Wishes and bones and
fire in darkness.
 October 2021


posted for
Note: This isn't a form per se, tho it's something like second cousin once removed to a cascade. I just made it up.
Images: Deadlight, 2010 ©joyannjones 
Lantern photo via Sunday Muse   Fair Use

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mystery On The Blue Train


Mystery On The Blue Train
(a 55)
There's mystery on the blue train;
Poirot's perplexed
at passion, soft skin, desire.
There's a heart of fire
burning before the snow falls
in the cemetery-silence
that flies behind eyes
in wind that plays
dead jazz in the night
in love slung over the bar
that snaps like crisp hangman's rope
when the body drops.
October 2021
The Mystery of the Blue Train First Edition Cover 1928.jpg
 linked to dVerse Poets
A 55 for Friday, and the G-Man (Homage to Christie)
Images: Interior view of a party at Zelli's nightclub, 16 Rue Fontaine, Montmartre, Paris, 1920s Fair Use
First edition cover,Mystery of the Blue Train, 1928  via wikipedia   Fair use, Link

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Invisible Man


The Invisible Man

To know you is
to never know you, closed
in your dead moth coat,
last century's hat
and shades, mummy's face
empty when unwrapped as yesterday' cup,
all feeling spilled on ground that sucks it dry.

To know you is
to live life in the dark
to look but never
find, feeling forward,
reaching, slipping, hands
fumbling out to nothing as if I'm blind;
to know you is to know the mirror's lie.

October 2021


 posted for Poetics
This poem is written in the duodora form. See above link for description.
Images: Claude Raines as The Invisible Man, 1933    Public Domain

Friday, October 22, 2021

Dead Silent


Dead Silent
 The buzz cut off in the flower's throat,
the crunch of green in the hornworm's jaw
gone, and that was the first silencing.

The roadrunner's raspy morning cough,
the thud and peep of the grey toad's hop
stopped, the second silencing.

The bagpipe gliss too high to hear
deep in the whales' wet meadowlands,
the third thing silenced.

Science sucked into apathy's muck,
sense and sanity duct-taped dead: 
the brutish silencing.
The white noise of fools, the grinder's carouse of greed
eating greed, the barker's pitch for fresh trash and blood
plays loudest where breathing is silenced.

October 2021


 posted for Compound Word Verse

and earthweal's
gliss: abrv, glissando, a glide from one pitch to another
Images: Wing Of A Blue Roller, 1512, Albrecht Durer   Public Domain
Untitled (Firetower) © Zdislas Beksinksi   Fair Use

Monday, October 18, 2021




You sleep flat in
the fire of all that was
and never burn;
ice doesn't.

I sleep on
the ashes; a body in
a prehistoric grave,
with stones, ivory rings

and broken pots,
curled tight to shield
all the soft things
that rot away.

October 2021

 posted for Quadrille Night
Images: Bronze Age Pot from prehistoric burial, Southern Urals © Finn Shrieber  from article 
Neolithic skeleton of a woman, from 4500 year old burial in Germany, by Archaeros, from article
 Fair Use

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Departing


The Departing
They met in meadowsweet and rue
when the moon began to sicken
when her breath began to thicken
when the golden note was stricken
from the songbird-ingenue.
The melancholy flies
buzzed the compass that was broken
ate the opium, her token
for a malady unspoken,
her copper curse of cries,
her pomegranate skies.
He held her hand again
though the remedy was shattered,
though all was lost that mattered,
tho someone's blood still splattered
as the now replaced the then
and the hand let go the pen.
All in white she'll be
when they walk to their last wedding,
when they meet what they've been dreading.
When last lustre becomes a leaden
shroud above the sea, there'll be
 only he.
 October 2021
a second effort for Fireblossom

Note: This poem was written with the aid of a word list I culled from Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher:
opium eater
Image via Sunday Muse, attribution unknown, Fair Use

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Three Wheels


Three Wheels
I dream the ghost;
an old woman who sits staring,
tendril-wrapped in the cold wet
wood with her soft face
washed away.
I dream the ritual;
an old woman who pedals
fast, pedals frantic, hunched
simian over three thin wheels
meant for a child.

I see the flooding quarry
and what they dig there that
 must not be found. The old woman
pedals madly, seeing all that goes
around and round.

I dream the Völva;
a grey woman who throws back
her unmade face and howls in runes,
traveling Time with red eyes
she calls from night.

I hear the pack's full cry loping
as one; to rend, to tear, to save
the secret moon before
she can be dug
from the water and sold.
October 2021

 posted for Fireblossom
I have written this roughly in the cadralor form, tho I have taken a few liberties with it. 
Process Note: Völva: "A Völva is a female Shaman in Old Norse culture, religion, and mythology..A Völva practiced three different kinds of indigenous magic within Old Norse society: Seiðr, or shamanic ritual, was the ceremonial weaving of a new or different future..Spá, or prophecy, was the art of foreseeing the fates that were being continuously woven into existence by the Norns.. Galdr, or incantation, was the art of singing or chanting for the purposes of changing or influencing an outcome..." ~Shieldmaiden's Sanctum
Images, both via internet, attribution unknown.   Fair Use.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Hungry Ghosts And Thirsty Spirits


Hungry Ghosts And Thirsty Spirits
(a sonnet)

What gift could the dead of the living want
if not to pour again the living's light,
that whiskey warming throats of dreams they haunt;
to sing, to laugh, to lose their drowning night.

My dead are old yet various and new,
the dancing sparks of a youth that ran away.
The love we had so tenuous and blue
flickers out the past and so transforms the clay;

but when you come you paralyze the soul
with heart-remembered cold like glacier melt;
a frozen thing so trapped by pure control
will feel the same negation we once felt.

Take back the miseries living in your eye.
Don't bring me where the sun forgets the sky.

October 2021

  (with apologies to Poe and the entire 19th Century)
 a little something for All Hallows, at dVerse Poets
 Images: Styx,  © Marius Lewandowski  Fair Use
Author and title unknown, via the internet.  Fair Use

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Red Smoking Mirror



Red Smoking Mirror
That was a hell of a poem, that one.
Some captive of war, some harem
woman, spilled her guts to you
flayed away all her hide
to bare nerve.
picked it up and wore it
just like mine, our wrists flapping,
bloody faces making masks
for yours, cut lips singing
all your 
butcher's songs.


It's plain I said, I need to make a pyre
of all these undead fears and burn them out.
Oh no, you said, there's never enough fire.
Make garments of your fears' flayed skins and shout,

for loving's a red coal beneath your feet
and being loved a poem you can't complete.

But I turned off that voodoo child advice
when I saw you line them up like bowling pins
for your mumbled brujeria to hypnotize.
I left; now all my words are my own sins,
spells of blood are broken for a price,
with ravensong in dreams and peace the prize.
 October 2021

 posted for Poetics
brujeria: (Spanish) witchcraft, sorcery, black magic

Process Note:" In Aztec mythology and religion, Xipe Totec [pictured at top] or ... Xipetotec  ("Our Lord the Flayed One") was a life-death-rebirth deity..[the god] was also known by various other names, including Tlatlauhca, Tlatlauhqui [or]Tezcatlipoca ("Red Smoking Mirror")... [he] is represented wearing flayed human skin, usually with the flayed skin of the hands falling loose from the wrists...Various methods of human sacrifice were used to honour this god. The flayed skins were often taken from sacrificial victims who had their hearts cut out..."~wikipedia




Image:Xipe Totec as depicted in the Codex Borgia, shown holding a bloody weapon and wearing flayed human skin as a suit.  via wikipedia    Fair Use

Friday, October 8, 2021

Red And Gold


 Red And Gold

Under my feet bright bodies
of leaves, mast from the oak, crunch
of all the discards of summer, fire's coming
crackle; percussion accompaniment
to sweet smoke of raked heaps burning
where you stand smiling,
match in hand.

Peridot green under amethyst clouds
the after-storm sun bent the grass back
with sudden heat, as you bent my bones
with one touch, onyx eyes
closing on summer's fire
while the last light left brushed the waterfall's
singing to red steam.

Around my skin a white pelt of
frozen water, my remembering numbing as wind,
 howling hard as a cast-out wolf ten states
from its pack, too old to fight
too full not to cry,
 under a sharp sickle moon
that sees nothing at all.

Rolling wheels on warm red dirt
over the creek, around the bends where 
trees hide the climb, mask the descent,
 shaking their gravid buds in the rage of air
pushing me, pulling me,
past the point where words
could make me stop.

Every season dies around me,
every leaf, every white-muzzled wolf
in my wilderness, each golden October
burning red under the match
til nothing is left but the journey
I reverse night
after night in my sleep.

October 2021

posted for Meet the Bar: Cadralor plus Nobel

Images: Autumn Leaves, Lake George, NY, 1924 ©Georgia O'Keefe   Fair Use
Red Dirt Road After Spring Rain, author unknown, via internet.    Fair Use